GI Mentor Chosen as the Technical Skills Platform of the FES Exam
SAGES (Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons) represents a worldwide community of over 6000 surgeons and sets the clinical and educational guidelines on standards of practice in various procedures, critical to enhancing patient safety and health. Its mission is “to improve quality patient care through education, research, innovation and leadership, principally in gastrointestinal and endoscopic surgery.” (1).
The American Board of Surgery (ABS), the national certifying body for general surgeons and related specialists, was concerned with the variability of endoscopic training by general surgery residents. They wanted an “educational and assessment tool to teach and evaluate the fundamental knowledge, clinical judgment and technical skills required in the performance of basic gastrointestinal (GI) flexible endoscopic surgery (endoscopy).”(2) An integral part of the program that was being developed by SAGES was the technical skills assessment part for the first time ever using a VR simulator for testing the surgical residents’ technical skills with a flexible endoscope.
After examining the simulators in the market, 3D Systems’ Simbionix GI Mentor was chosen by SAGES as the simulator for the technical skills component of the FES exam.
3D Systems developed in collaboration with SAGES, a test consisting of five skill tasks that were identified by a SAGES committee to incorporate the core technical skills necessary for GI endoscopic surgery. The five tested skills are:
- Mucosal evaluation
- Endoscopic navigation
- Loop reduction
- Targeting with a tool
“The Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery ™ (FES) is a comprehensive educational and assessment tool designed to teach and evaluate the fundamental knowledge, clinical judgment and technical skills required in the performance of basic gastrointestinal (GI) flexible endoscopic surgery (endoscopy) and sets a validated benchmark of understanding and skill in basic endoscopy,” (3) said Dr. Gerald Fried, SAGES Past President and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at McGill University.
The FES program provides “participants with an opportunity to gain the required knowledge in a consistent, scientifically accepted format through a didactic curriculum and to test cognitive and technical skills – all with the goal of improving the quality of patient care”. (3)
Dr. Jeffrey Marks, incoming SAGES President and previous Chair of the FES Committee added: “FLS has been instrumental in single-handedly revolutionizing surgical training worldwide, and requiring FES as a part of the ABS Flexible Endoscopy Curriculum is step two of this collaborative effort to elevate the standards and training for MIS.” (2) Surgeons graduating residency in 2017-2018 academic years and thereafter must complete the ABS Flexible Endoscopy Curriculum to be eligible for board certification in general surgery.
Currently there are 70 FES testing sites available in the United States and Canada. Over 250 accredited general surgery programs in the United States will fall under this new requirement of completing the ABS Flexible Endoscopy Curriculum to be eligible for board certification in general sugery.